Concerns over street drinking have prompted councillors to consult on implementing new powers to crack down on antisocial behaviour.
Arun District Council’s cabinet agreed on Monday to launch a consultation over Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs), which would give police and council officers power to confiscate alcohol and disperse those likely to cause antisocial behaviour.
The powers would primarily target issues in Bognor Regis town centre, though could extend between Pagham and Elmer.
Police statistics show more than 25 per cent of reports of antisocial behaviour in Marine ward between August 2014 and July 2015 related to street drinking – a problem described in a report as ‘persistent and ongoing’.
Cabinet member for community services Paul Wotherspoon said: “Feedback from some members of the public and shop owners has indicated that they believe street drinking in Littlehampton and Bognor Regis sparks antisocial behaviour which is having a detrimental effect on those areas.
“However the introduction of any new measures will be subject to the resources available in a financially-challenging environment and agencies will need to work together to undertake effective enforcement action.”
The new powers are similar to the town’s existing Designated Public Place Order. A PSPO however could carry a higher, £1,000 fine.
Arun officers have also recommended adding dispersal powers, giving authority for those causing or likely to cause antisocial behaviour to be moved on.
Questions remain over who would enforce the powers, with a report suggesting council officers would only use them on a targeted basis.
Sussex Police could provide assistance but with diminishing resources ‘would like to see how other partners will provide enforcement capacity’. Business wardens could also enforce them but are only currently funded for a two-year pilot.
The three-month consultation date goes live on June 20 and will be available to view at www.arun.gov.uk.
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